Responsible operators deserve more respect

By Gillian McKenzie

“COPS to red card World Cup trouble in city bars” – that was the headline in the Evening Times newspaper last week on a story which claimed police would “patrol city pubs during the World Cup to prevent booze-fuelled violence”.

It angered many in the trade. And rightly so.
It’s this sort of article that paints an inaccurate, unfair and downright wrong picture of the trade.
A trade in which operators have to jump through hoops just to obtain a licence to sell alcohol; a trade in which no one can even get behind a bar until they have completed at least two hours’ training; a trade in which door stewards must undergo intensive training and obtain a licence before they can work; a trade in which operators invest thousands of pounds to ensure their premises are run as responsibly and safely as possible; a trade in which licensees embrace voluntary initiatives like Best Bar None and the promotion of 125ml wine serves; a trade which screens much higher profile football fixtures than, say, Honduras v Ecuador most weekends without incident.
It does little to improve relations between the trade and police, which are already under pressure amid claims police are overstepping their powers when visiting premises.
And it does little to enhance the image of our vibrant, well-run pubs and bars just weeks before thousands of visitors arrive in Scotland for the Commonwealth Games.
Let’s hope visitors look beyond the headlines and experience the trade for what it really is.